Originally released in 2017 on the Nintendo 3DS, The Alliance Alive HD Remastered comes to PS4 and Switch boasting HD graphics and a revamped combat system. The Alliance Alive HD Remastered’s universe is one that has been segmented into different realms by magical powers beyond mortal comprehension; darkness that one day, long forgotten, pulled the blue from the sky itself. Humans are at the bottom of the food chain, subservient to cruel Beastmen and their Daemon masters, who hold the secrets of the dark current–the force keeping the world fragmented. You control a band of heroes, each with their own stories interconnected by Fate. Join forces with the Guilds littered about the monster-filled landscape, form your resistance, and fight against the powers that be to reunite the scattered realms and bring back the sky.
The Alliance Alive HD Remastered’s premise was what drew me to the game when I first saw it on 3DS. If you’re like me and you just never got around to playing on the original platform, the inclusion of additional mediums is as good a time as any to dive into this solid RPG. The characters, which fall into the three levels of the hierarchy I mentioned previously, are varied and multi-dimensional, encouraging you to explore what makes them tick and form attachments. The Alliance Alive HD Remastered does a fantastic job of interconnecting their stories together organically and I experienced several “Aha!” moments while playing through the introductory phase and learning what was happening on the other side of things while I was in control of a different group of characters.
Customary to the genre, The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is divided into an overworld and explorable nodes. During exploration, you’ll encounter a variety of puzzles to solve. These are standard RPG fare from switch puzzles, where you have to flip a series of switches in order to advance, to push puzzles where you need to create a path by shifting around obstacles. For the most part these puzzles aren’t particularly difficult, but ones that do prove difficult often have someone nearby that can solve them for you–for a price. I wish more games had that option as it mitigated the frustration of having progress come to an abrupt halt due to my own puzzle incompetence.
Whether you’re in the overworld or exploring one of the nodes, there are no random encounters. Enemies can be seen roaming the wilds and coming into contact with one will trigger a combat screen. Common enemies are numerous and areas often have normal paths, so unfortunately you’ll find yourself in battle more often than you’d probably like. Combat in The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is standard turn-based fare. You’re able to select from one of two weapons or items equipped to your characters and assign commands to each at once. Then, the character or monster with the most speed acts first and so on and so forth. Different weapons means different Arts, some of which cost energy while others do not, and items range from healing rations to status inflicting potions. The aspect that sets The Alliance Alive HD Remastered apart from other turn-based RPGs is also part of it’s party management system–namely the random acquisition of new skills, called Arts. Attacking with one of your equipped weapons has a chance of awakening a new skill–a chance that you can increase via perks–or of levelling up and improving the Art you’ve just used. After combat, your team is not rewarded with experience points, but rather with Trait Points (TP) and sometimes with an increase in maximum HP or SP.
TP can be distributed in the Traits menu and include useful combat abilities such as the regeneration of SP or lessened chance of being spotted by an enemy as well as increased affinity with particular weapons. Characters aren’t locked to a certain class and all weapons are available to be equipped, allowing for customization of your favourites. Naturally, there’s some predisposition as far as the weapons and Traits characters automatically come equipped with, but that can easily be changed. I was a fan of this style of party management and the degree of freedom it allowed as far as composition. Choosing a formation was also important as it boosted different stats depending on who was where, adding another dimension of strategy to the combat.
This system does have its downsides, however. Progress can feel like a slog due to the negligible number of TP awarded after battles. Traits, particularly the higher level ones, require a pile of TP to be acquired, meaning there will be some grinding to be done, especially if you’re like me and like to unlock everything. That aside, The Alliance Alive HD Remastered does a good job of adding its own twist to the typical turn-based format.
Guilds, the source of the “Alliance” part of The Alliance Alive, can be found throughout the realms and offer a host of useful benefits in and out of combat. On one hand, they can be used to develop more powerful equipment for your characters. They can also be used to provide intel on how to proceed, save your game, and prepare your party for the journey ahead. On the combat side of things, every so often a Guild can launch a support ability that ranges from debuffing enemies to dealing massive damage. This cannot be controlled, but you’ll be alerted when Guild support is available, so timing it when you’ll need it is a good strategy–particularly for more challenging encounters.
The Alliance Alive HD Remastered looks great. The 3D sprites are cute, reminiscent of classic Square Enix characters, and the storybook style art of backgrounds is a nice contrast. The BGM isn’t anything to write home about, but it compliments situations well and never feels out of place. I’m not a fan of the text runs around the borders of the screen–an unfortunate result of some quality of life improvements–but that’s personal preference and, though a bit of an eyesore, does nothing to detract from gameplay. All in all, this remaster doesn’t add any new scenarios or the like, but it does improve upon the original formula just enough to justify jumping back into The Alliance Alive world.
The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is a worthwhile effort to breathe new life into the original edition. While there aren’t a huge amount of changes, the already solid RPG is made even better by a shiny new coat of paint–and more importantly, quality of life improvements like the ability to skip cutscenes or speed up battle. The Alliance Alive is an experience made better by it’s availability on a more powerful console, so whether you’ve played the game or, like me, had been eyeing it on the 3DS, but relish the chance to have it on a different platform, this is a great investment of your time and money.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Alliance Alive HD Remastered Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Ignite, unite, and fight–now in glorious High Definition with the Alliance Alive HD Remastered.
- Unique story book art style environments and 3D character model mix.
- Characters can be built however you see fit using perk points gained from battle.
- Weapons can be used by any character, not constrained by class.
- Weapons reflect on character model.
- No voice acting. This is a minor complaint, but I feel as though partial voice acting at the least should be a staple of modern RPGs.
- Slow paced character growth thanks to lack of experience points.
- Moves and abilities, even powerful ones, lackluster.
- Combat, though not random, is near impossible to skip over due to the layout of environments.